Eurotunnel Group SA’s ferry arm welcomed a decision by regulators overturning a ruling that would have barred it from operating on the English Channel between Dover and Calais.
The MyFerryLink business said in an e-mailed statement that Britain’s Competition Appeal Tribunal had quashed antitrust findings that its acquisition by Eurotunnel would limit one of the world’s busiest cross-border freight markets.
Today’s ruling upheld the “main thrust” of an appeal by the Scop worker cooperative, which had argued that the U.K. Competition Commission did not have the jurisdiction to deliver an opinion on the matter, MyFerryLink said.
The watchdog said June 6 it’s blocking the service for two years and set restrictions for eight. The French transport ministry said at the time it would take up the matter with U.K. authorities after France backed the 2012 acquisition by Eurotunnel of three ships from rail operator SNCF’s defunct SeaFrance ferry arm.
The decision helps protect jobs, French Deputy Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said in an e-mailed statement. The operation involves 533 employees, both sailors and ground-based personnel, he said.
In 15 months of operation, the Scop worker cooperative that leases and operates the boats has won 11 percent of the market for transporting freight across the channel and 8 percent of the passenger market, the minister said.
The commission must now review its findings and determine whether it had sufficient authority to act, the ferry company said.